North America Travel

    Hotel del Coronado – Iconic Resort in Southern California

    San Diego

    Location: Coronado Island, California

    We rarely stay in resorts or fancy hotels…it’s not usually part of the Grand Adventure budget. But the Hotel del Coronado – iconic resort of Southern California, has been on my hotel bucket list for a long time. Check. Finally we had a chance to spend two nights in this grand old lady.

    Hotel del Coronado

    Some History

    From the hotel’s website here is a brief history of this amazing hotel;

    Opened in February 1888, Hotel del Coronado debuted as an architectural masterpiece, acclaimed for its spectacular seaside setting and world-famous weather. Outfitted with electricity and every modern amenity, The Del was a destination resort before the term existed, attracting a wealthy clientele from the Midwest, East Coast, and Europe. These guests – who arrived with their own servants in tow – generally stayed for months at a time.

    Although seaside destination resorts were fairly commonplace along both American coasts during the late 19th century, few were as large as The Del or as distinctive. With its one-of-a-kind sweeping silhouette – once likened to a cross between an ornate wedding cake and well-trimmed ship – the Southern California beach resort was recognizable throughout the country and around the world.

    Coronado’s island-like allure and year-round sunshine further ensured The Del’s reputation as a standout resort, described as the “unrivaled Queen of seaside resorts … this enchanting spot has no equal in America … or the world.”

    Read additional history here.

    Today’s “Del”

    At 133 years old, this huge, wooden building requires constant maintenance and upkeep. It’s location, beachfront on the Pacific Ocean is beautiful of course, but the sea air, sand, humidity, storms and sun all can wreck havoc on a wooden structure.

    Inner Courtyard

    Through the years the hotel has expanded to adjoining properties. The original old building still has rooms, but more modern and luxurious rooms are also available in the villa’s, cabanas and high rise hotel next door.

    During our visit, the main lobby on the south side of the building is closed for an extensive renovation at a cost of 400 million. The renovation will take the south portico back to it’s original glory. This includes the south facing rooms above the lobby, and the shops below. This extensive work will be ongoing for at least another year. Guest’s enter the building temporarily on the north side portico.

    Pool and iconic turret

    The huge renovation includes another pool and restaurant. Part of the renovation, the refurbished cabana units, is complete.

    Several restaurants are available to guests, a spa and swimming pool as well as a half mile stretch of beautiful white sand beach directly in front of the properties. The town of Coronado is easy walking distance from the hotel and offers shops and restaurants.

    Learn more about the ongoing renovations here.

    My Visit to the Hotel del Coronado – Iconic Resort in Southern California

    We stayed in one of the least expensive rooms the resort offers, and still paid $400 per night plus an additional $40 per day for parking. This is easily $300 per night more than our usual. In comparison (and changing seasonally) other rooms and guest houses throughout the large complex run from $450 to $1600 per night.

    Verandah on our room

    But honestly, I loved being in the oldest part of the hotel. Our room was small with a small bath, but we enjoyed an unexpected beautiful verandah with a partial ocean view and full interior garden view. The mattress was great.

    One drawback to the older part of the hotel is the tiny and slow elevator. I am assuming the south renovation will include a new bank of elevators. Perhaps the north side will be next.

    Hilton guarantee Clean Stay

    Staff is friendly and abundant. The property, which is owned by Hilton, is working to assure guest safety with masks required and advanced cleaning in all rooms. We did not eat at the hotel but the restaurants are beautiful and we enjoyed the beach bar. Garden’s and landscaping are gorgeous. We were glad that with all the construction going on, the crews started late morning and so we did not feel disturbed.

    At the beach bar

    Actually the helicopters, fighters and C-17 airplanes out of the multiple naval and military facilities in the area were much noisier than any construction. But it was also very interesting to watch all that activity.


    While here I did a really long run (eleven miles) south on a path that runs well past where I turned around. The views are beautiful. A nice state park and several condos and marinas are located to the south.

    Lunch at Henry’s in the town of Coronado

    We walked around the little town of Coronado, had lunch at Henry’s and did a bit of shopping. I loved some of the beautiful Victorian homes and gardens.

    Cute Coronado neighborhoods

    Traffic can be bad, due to the bridge. Although the bridge is high and long, it’s often backed up so plan ahead, especially on the weekend.

    Bucket List Check

    It’s always fun to check something off the bucket list, and the Hotel del Coronado – iconic resort in Southern California was one for me. I’m so glad we came. Once in a lifetime I have no doubt.

    Dining outside at the Hotel del Coronado

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    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri

    Wow. This is the word that comes to mind for this book. I loved this story. Here is my book review The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri.

    On our recent road trip (3 months and 6000 miles) we listened to a total of five Audible books. We never listen to music when we drive, we always have an audio book in the works, in addition to whatever books we are reading on Kindle or in paperback. And this beautiful book, The Beekeeper of Aleppo was perfect for audio. Both for the exquisitely written word Lefteri created, and for the the brilliant performance by reader Art Malik.

    Books about war and war refugees are certainly not rare. But this story is incredibly rare as it deals with the plight of the worn torn region of Syria and the dangerous and nearly impossible lives of refugees trying to get to Europe.

    Lefteri’s own experience working for an NGO in Syria inspired her to write this novel. And though this is a work of fiction, the author uses real people she met to mold the main characters of this captivating story. The character develop is at the heart of this work…as the reader (or listener) becomes engrossed in the tragedy of innocent people, the unbearable grief of war and loss and the mostly hopeless flight out of war torn Syria.

    Following the beekeeper Nuri and his artist wife Afri who has lost her sight in a violent act, readers of this novel will feel each step, each catastrophe and each triumph of their journey. Lefteri shows the reader how the human mind searches for coping mechanisms during life’s most cruel and devastating misfortunes.

    Everyone should read this book to better understand the war in Syria. It is presented in such a sensitive and powerful way, a true masterpiece about being human.

    *****Five stars for The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri.

    Read last week’s review of The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

    My current read Tidelands by Philappa Gregory

    See this week’s top performing book review pin News of the World here

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    Inspire  --  North America Travel

    A Year in the USA in Pictures

    Making Travel Memories Despite Covid

    It’s been one year today since we arrived in the USA after two months locked down on the island of Cyprus. One freaking crazy year. Even now, after all this time, I sometimes have trouble believing this has all been real. That Pandamit (oops I did it again…Pandemic), really changed absolutely everything, didn’t it?

    My family

    We hope to travel internationally again soon. However we also know that our international travels of the future will never be as carefree and easy as they were during our four years of the Grand Adventure. But we definitely plan to get back out there.

    One year ago today in a deserted Heathrow Airport

    Meanwhile, 365 days in the USA has given us time to appreciate this beautiful country and all it offers.

    Prior to the Pandamit, we had already visited all fifty states. But that doesn’t mean we had seen all the amazing beauty of this nation….not even close. So slow travel in the USA became our new mission. And so far it’s been an amazing journey.

    At home

    So for today’s blog post I thought I would share A Year in the USA in Pictures – some of my favorite images from our year stuck in the USA. I have no regrets.

    In my neighborhood, Washington State
    Spring in my yard, Washington State
    Time with my mom
    Sailing on our son’s boat
    New patio
    Learning to golf
    and more hiking!
    Whidbey Island
    Fall City
    Time with our boys
    Road Trip Idaho
    Road Trip Colorado
    Road Trip Oregon
    Learning to make sourdough
    I made four quilts in four months
    Remodeled bathroom
    Nine weeks in Maui
    Nine weeks in Maui
    Nine weeks in Maui
    Nine weeks in Maui
    Holidays with the fam
    Holidays with the fam
    Holidays with the fam
    Road trip to Southwest USA
    Seven weeks in Palm Desert California
    Seven weeks in Palm Desert
    Seven weeks in Palm Desert
    Seven weeks in Palm Desert
    So much golf
    So much golf
    So much golf

    Despite it all, it’s been a year of unexpected adventures. We visited Idaho, Colorado and Oregon. Maui was awesome and we enjoyed our time in the Coachella Valley, California and Arizona. Of course our home state of Washington in the summer is a wealth of beauty and adventures. Learning new things, getting healthy, loosing weight, time with family and staying positive have kept us in a good frame of mind. I just absolutely refuse to be a victim in all of this.

    We fell in love with Arizona

    People keep asking us what we plan to do next? But, if the Pandamit has taught us anything, it’s don’t make plans! But planning we are, in spite of it all. We will spend 12 days in Iceland in June (fingers crossed). We will return to Maui again in the fall. And we hope to visit Colorado and Arizona again. Mexico is a possibility. We have now been vaccinated and I got my dreaded surgery out of the way, so there does seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel – but that could be a freight train barreling down…cause these days, you never know!

    Meanwhile, we are here and that’s just fine – USA you are just fine and we are grateful for all you offer.

    I hope you enjoyed our review A Year in the USA in Pictures.

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    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

    We listened to several audio books while on our recent road trip through the southwest USA. This new release by Kristin Hannah was one of them. I struggled to enjoy the voice of this audio book, but in the end I enjoyed the overall story. Here is my book review The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah.

    This is the story of the dust bowl and the migration to California and those who suffered through it, those who survived it, and those who didn’t. But Hannah is no Steinbeck, so don’t expect Grapes of Wrath here. It is however a touching story, and in true Hannah form, a story of women who endure the unimaginable for their families and what they believe.

    We are introduced to Elsa, a young women who has been coddled by her wealthy family her entire life after being a sickly child. Elsa’s family expect her to live her life as a spinster, refuse her hopes of college and rarely even let her leave the house. By age 25, she has no self-confidence and no future. And then she meets a younger man whose family is from Scilly and soon is pregnant with his child. Elsa’s reputation- obsessed Texas family disown her and she is literally left on the doorstep of the Italian speaking family whose son gives up college to marry her.

    This is certainly not a good way to begin a marriage, and you can only imagine how things develop, particularly as crops dry up and fail, drought takes over the land and Texas becomes a dust bowl.

    Elsa will find herself abandoned and alone with two young children looking for a new life in California, with thousands of other families just like her. When she becomes involved with a movement for better conditions for workers things get both complicated and dangerous for Elsa, her family and all the downtrodden, starving and destitute depression era laborers.

    Although there was much of this book I found weak, and I disliked Elsa’s character in the beginning, she definitely grows throughout the book and finds her voice in the end. I might have liked the book better if I had read it instead of listened to it.

    If you are a Kristine Hannah fan you won’t be disappointed. I hope you enjoyed my Book Review The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah.

    ****Four stars for The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

    Read last week’s review of News of the World by Paulette Jiles

    My current read The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christi Lefteri

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    What is Diverticulosis

    My Diagnosis, Symptoms, Surgery & Recovery

    Location: USA

    Note – thank you all for your kind thoughts and prayers. I am doing well.

    It was six years ago that I ended up in the emergency room due to extreme pain in my abdomen and was diagnosed with acute diverticulitis. Diverticulitis is a flareup of the large intestine due to a disease called diverticulosis. The intestine creates pockets that become inflamed. This is different than polyps often discussed in the colon. The pockets occur for reasons unknown, usually in people over 50 years old. Most develop the pockets in the lower left quadrant of the large intestine. Diverticulosis is the name of the disease, and diverticulitis is what the flareups are called. A flareup can happen at any time and no one knows why.

    Some studies have shown obesity as a cause as well as a low fiber diet. Diets in the Western world that are low in fiber and high in carbohydrates create a high number of cases. Usually people who are fit and do physical exercise don’t suffer from this disease. And then there is me.

    My Diagnosis


    The day I was rushed into the emergency room I had spent the entire day in bed unable to move or even get up. I couldn’t even walk. It was a horrible pain and it frightened me. On that day I had no idea what diverticulosis was. I was grateful to get a quick diagnosis and begin to understand some of the things my body was saying to me.

    After diagnosis I realized that I had suffered from at least two, and possibly three diverticulitis flareups in the past. I had powered through those, but the one that sent me to the hospital was the worst.

    Multiple “Episodes” Since

    Over the past six years I have had seven additional attacks (episodes) of diverticulitis. Many of these while I was traveling abroad. An attack puts me to bed, makes me constipated, creates a loss of appetite and makes it difficult to move or even walk. The pain is that extreme – it feels like a knife to the gut, over and over. While traveling I carried Ciproflaxin, an antibiotic, and diagnosed and treated myself when necessary.

    New Information


    This past summer while we are on travel pause in the USA we got a new doctor. He provided me some new insight into this disease and showed a deep concern for my future health. He told me that most people require surgery after just two attacks and I can count 8-9. He also talked to me in-depth about the danger of continuing to throw antibiotics at the problem.

    No one had discussed surgery with me before. I thought this was a disease I just had to live with. I clearly had more to learn about what is diverticulosis. So on receiving this new information I began some extensive research and met with two more doctors for more opinions.


    Although there is much information out there about treating diverticulosis with dietary cleanses and changes, I knew my diet to be very healthy and high fiber. My research provided me a clear picture that my current diet and my lifestyle was not the problem. I lead a healthy life.

    So following all my study I decided it was time to do the surgery. It made sense to do the surgery while I was stuck here in the USA, even though I was not very excited about spending time in the hospital during the time of Covid. I originally scheduled the surgery for last December, but again Covid was raging. So I postponed until this week.

    Over the past months I have made sure I continued to eat healthy, exercise and keep my weight down to be at my optimal health for surgery. Even so, while traveling in the American Southwest over the past two months I have suffered from almost constant pain. So, no more waiting to deal with this problem. And now that I have been vaccinated, I am more confident about spending five days in the hospital.

    I had the surgery earlier this week. I am extremely tired but feeling ok. My doctor tells me I will feel totally normal by end of May, although I can’t start running again until June at the earliest.

    Making the Decision

    If we had not been forced into travel pause due to the PanDammit, I probably would have put this surgery off a few more years. My doctor worried that a future flareup could result in a dangerous perforation of the colon and spreading bacteria to surrounding tissue, which would require emergency surgery. I definitely did not want to find myself in that situation in a foreign country. And the emergency surgery can be much more invasive than the laparoscopic elective surgery. It can also be more dangerous.

    I think I made the right decision for me. But each person needs to review their own situation, do the research and talk to multiple doctors. Each case is unique. If you suffer from this ailment I am happy to tell you more of my story if it can be useful to you. But most importantly, talk to your doctor.

    I expect a full recovery, although it will take some time. Thanks for your concern.

    Read last week’s blog Tasty Tucson Arizona

    See this week’s top performing pin here Nine Things to do in Tucson Arizona

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    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review News of the World by Paulette Jiles

    I reviewed Jiles novel Simon the Fiddler last week, and finally got my hands on News of the World after being on the library waitlist for months. I’m happy to say it was worth the wait. Not sure why I had never read it before. Here is my book review News of the World by Paulette Jiles

    I haven’t seen the movie, but it was hard to read the book without seeing Tom Hanks (one of my favorite actors – well isn’t he everyone’s favorite?) in the roll of Captain Jefferson Kidd. It’s 1870 and Kidd, going on 70 years (old for the era) earns his living in northern Texas going from town to town reading the world news to residents hungry for news.

    It’s definitely the wild west with danger, bandits, thieves, rapists and murderers lurking in every town. But Kidd enjoys his solitary existence, though often pines for his deceased wife.

    Then while stopping in Wichita Falls, Kidd is asked to transport a young orphan back to her relatives in San Antonio. Johanna has been living among the Kiowa for four years and has adopted the Kiowa ways and language. She is frightened and has no interest in leaving her Kiowa family.

    This beautifully written book takes the Captain and Johanna on a 400 mile journey, escaping bandits, Indians, and desolate landscape to arrive in San Antonio to a less than welcoming aunt and uncle, Johanna’s only relatives.

    The journey Johanna and the Captain have undertaken is more than crossing 400 miles…it is also crossing the bounds of trust, loneliness, honor and love. Finding hope and a new life can come in the most unexpected places, for a young girl and an old man.

    I hope you enjoyed by Book Review News of the World by Paulette Jiles.

    *****Five stars for News of the World by Paulette Jiles.

    Read last week’s review of Simon the Fiddler

    My current read The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

    See this week’s top performing pin here Tubac, Bisbee Tombstone Day Trip from Tucson

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    Food & Drink  --  North America Travel

    Tasty Tucson – Our Favorite Dining Spots

    As we travel during the PanDamit we eat out only sparingly…keeping our distance and always dining outdoors. We also often prefer to cook in our Airbnb, to stay on budget and feel relaxed. All that said, dining out is a big part of travel, and during our visit to Tucson we discovered some delicious local options. So here is our recommendations… Tasty Tucson – Our Favorite Dining Spots.

    El Charro

    El Charro
    El Charro

    If you come to Tucson this is a must. The ninety-nine year old restaurant is a Tucson institution and the place to experience authentic southwest cuisine from tamales to tacos to chili relleno. We enjoyed the back patio and our food was delicious, despite the fact our waiter didn’t seem to know how to properly wear his mask. El Charro

    Cup Cafe

    Cup Cafe
    Cup Cafe

    We heard so much about this place we had to check it out, if not for the food for the history of the place. The Cup Cafe is a popular restaurant and bar (serving breakfast all day) at the historic Congress Hotel right in downtown Tucson…close to everything. Make reservations if you can, we did and had a no wait table on the patio where we enjoyed great food, excellent service and live music. Order the ribs with green chili macaroni and cheese. Yum. Cup Cafe

    Barrio Brew Pub

    Barrio Brewing
    Barrio Brewing

    The beer was great, and we also enjoyed a lovely salad and tortilla soup, opting for a light lunch in this restaurant/brewery located in an old warehouse. Though we didn’t eat the burgers or sandwiches, everything we saw coming out of the kitchen looked incredible. Barrio Brewing Co


    On our last night in Tucson we drove to the far end of town from where we were staying because we had heard so much about this place. And it is totally worth it. We made a reservation so we could sit outside and the outdoor area was lovely and guests were spread apart. Wildflower does not have a huge menu, but I actually prefer that. The menu is seasonal and well thought out.


    We started with a beautiful hamachi appetizer. Followed by a delicious Kale Salad. For our entries I had an outstanding roasted chicken and mashed potatoes and Arne loved his slow braised short ribs with arugula. A bonus was we happened to be there on half price bottle of wine night (Tuesday) so of course we drank wine.

    Best meal we had in Tucson and the service was exceptional. Don’t miss it. Wildflower.

    Sonoran Hot Dogs

    Well, even though I am not a hot dog eater usually, we couldn’t come to Tucson and not experience this local favorite. So we set out to test several different Sonoran Hot Dogs and here is what we found.

    Quench Your Thirst

    Moto Sonora
    Borderlands Brewing

    In addition to the Barrio Brewing Co above we enjoyed the beer at Borderlands Brewing right in downtown Tucson and another beer on the sunny outdoor patio at MotoSonora. We wanted to visit the Owls Club, a funky old bar in a former mortuary in downtown Tucson. It’s a favorite of locals and visitors a like but it wasn’t open when we arrived…next time.

    Tasty Tucson

    Tasty Tucson – our favorite dining spots. Come to Tucson hungry. Come to Tucson thirsty. Come to Tucson. We are so glad we did.

    See last week’s post Nine Things to do in Tucson Arizona.

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